The funeral of Charles Kennedy MP, will take place in St. John the Evangelist, Caol, Fort William on Friday 12 June at 12 noon.
The Principal Celebrant will be Monsignor James MacNeil, Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. The Parish Priest Fr. Roddy McAuley, will preach the Homily.
The readings for the Mass will be:1st Reading: Ecclesiastes: 3:1-7, 11Psalm: 1392nd Reading: St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: 8:31-35, 37-39
Fourteen children from St. Columba s R.C. Primary school, Lochyside, which Charles Kennedy attended as a child, will sing the Psalm, O God, you search me and you know me .
The family have chosen the following hymns: Christ be beside me, Our God loves us, I the Lord of sea and sky, Soul of my Saviour, How Great thou art.
The text of the homily of Fr. Roddy McAuley is shown below. (Embargoed - 00.01 12 June 2015)
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Notes to Editors:
1. At the request of the Kennedy family, no cameras will be permitted in the church. A pooled audio feed from within the church and a video feed from within the church grounds of the church entrance, will be provided to broadcasters by the BBC. Further information from Kathy LongAssistant Editor, BBC News, Scotland Bureau, 07834 845 610. The Press Association will provide still pictures of the church entrance. Picture desk number is 0207 963 7156
2. A designated media area will be in place directly opposite St John's church and will be managed by Police Scotland Communication Officers at all times. Contact: 01786 896000With Media parking is available at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Moor Road (first on the right after St John's Road).
3. Limited access to the church for designated vehicles will be managed by police officers with members of the media directed to the location outlined above. No access to the church car park or entrance is permitted to members of the media other than the pool camera and crew. Interviews may be carried out within the designated media area.
4. The service begins at 12 noon and will last approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Internment at Clunes, Achnacarry to follow for family and friends only. At the request of the Kennedy family no cameras will permitted at the cemetery. The family respectfully request that no photographs of Charles' son Donald are taken at any time.
Homily, Fr. Roddy McAuley: (Check against delivery)
Charles Kennedy was a humble man. When Charles parents died and Charles said a few words in the church, he wouldn t come up here to the lectern but insisted on speaking outside the sanctuary, from the floor. In this church, Charles was one of the ˜backbenchers . He didn t always sit in the same pew but he always sat at the back of the church.
The Gospel passage chosen for Charles funeral Mass today is the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector. I chose it because of the humble prayer of the tax collector. The word ˜humility was born from the Latin word ˜humus or earth, and is also the root of the word humour. This humility calls us to stay close to the earth with our feet on the ground. Six times in the passage the pharisee mentions I . He prayed to himself, not to God. On the other hand, the prayer of the tax collector is a model. He said simply, ˜Lord, be merciful to me a sinner . Is there a more beautiful prayer that we could say than that?
There s a thoughtful reflection by William Barclay which states, O Father, give us the humility which realises its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognises its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticise, to sympathise rather than to condemn, to encourage rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst . We accept and acknowledge a person s giftedness and Charles giftedness was devoted to and shared with the community.
Ian and Mary Kennedy, the parents of Charles, Isobel and Ian, were both awarded the Benemerenti medal, Latin for the well deserved medal for their services to their church. The Benemerenti medal was accepted with great humility by Mary and Ian, and never displayed. That humility was inherited by Charles, Isobel and Ian.
Mary played the organ and Ian the fiddle here in St. John s for over forty years, and at their son Charles funeral today we are pleased to have a number of musicians who have come together to play, as they did for the funerals of his parents. Charles loved music and he famously quoted, I couldn t imagine a day without music. It relaxes and stimulates me in equal measure and, I hate the sound of silence “ the concept I mean, not the track by Simon and Garfunkel .
There have been beautiful tributes paid to Charles especially over the past week or so. Something we might add is the importance of Charles faith to him. He was a much loved and respected parishioner of St. John s and he will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.